According to Melanesian mythology the Abaia was a species of “great eel” which lurked at the bottom of freshwater lakes throughout the islands of Fiji, Solomon and Vanuatu. These creatures were reputed to be obsessively protective of the fish living in their aquatic homes, so much so that – much like South Africa’s INKANYAMBA – they would cause terrible rain storms and deluges if their lakes, or the fish therein, were ever disturbed. This story helps to illustrate the point:
”One day a man discovered a lake in which were many fish; and at the bottom of the lake lived a magic eel, but the man knew it not. He caught many fish and returned the next day with the people of his village whom he had told of his discovery; and they also were very successful, while one woman even laid hold of the great eel, Abaia, who dwelt in the depths of the lake, though he escaped her.”
”Now Abaia was angry that his fish had been caught and that he himself had been seized, so he caused a great rain to fall that night, and the waters of the lake also rose, and all the people were drowned except an old woman who had not eaten of the fish and who saved herself in a tree.”
While the more fantastic elements of the Abaia story are obviously the byproducts of primal fears and folkloric tradition, it has been speculated that lakes across the globe may, in fact, harbor small populations of heretofore unknown species of large, predatory eels, such as Newfoundland’s CRESSIE or Upstate New York’s OLD GREENY.